Teacher Lin Lan tells: First episode The mystery of Chinese calligraphy history that travels through five thousand years, calligraphy of pre-Qin and Qin dynasties

First episode🔀pre-Qin and Qin dynasties calligraphy

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The pre-Qin period includes Shang, Western Zhou, Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period, from about 16th century BC to 221 BC.

👀 1, Shang and Western Zhou Oracle

The earliest systematic written material found is the Shang Dynasty Oracle. The oracle bone inscriptions are mainly written relics after Pan Geng moved the capital to Yin. They were buried in the ground for a long time. They were discovered in the late Qing Dynasty until the 25th year of Guangxu (1899), after Wang Yirong first collected and studied it from the perspective of philology. Oracle is really gaining weight.


Oracle bone inscriptions are mostly engraved. There are about two ways of writing oracle bone inscriptions, except that a small part of oracle bone inscriptions are ink. The method of engraving the deed is mainly single-handed, and a small amount of solemn memos are engraved with double-swords. The texture of tortoise shell beast bones is relatively hard, the surface is irregular, and the characters are arranged mostly from top to bottom; between two lines, most from right to left. This writing habit has always affected the calligraphy creation today. 

Part of "Shiguwen"

The knife is not sharp and the material is too hard, causing the oracle bone inscriptions to have straight strokes (round and curved strokes are often connected by many short and straight strokes), and the ends of the strokes are thin and thick in the middle; Irregularities on the surface have caused the arrangement of the rules and regulations to be arranged vertically and horizontally without rows; and in line with the characteristics of strokes and chapters, the structure is also mainly vertical. 

These characteristics make Oracle, on the whole, although the form is slightly monotonous, its interest is still extremely moving-simple and simple, sharp and firm, tall and strong. In Oracle, some important artistic methods have been applied, the most important of which is the law of symmetry. The shape of the oracle bone inscriptions is pictographic, but the vertical structure of the momentum mainly uses symmetry to achieve balance. 

On the one hand, it is the use of the balance rule on the one hand. The two are closely integrated, so that the oracle bone inscriptions show vigor and vitality in a neat, meticulous, and orderly manner, and have a strong appeal. The composition is arranged in a staggered manner according to the size of the characters under the premise of a relatively neat vertical arrangement. 

       Ancient Chinese characters engraved on ox bone

👀 2. Shang and Western Zhou Bronze Inscriptions  

With the development of society, the application of writing becomes more and more extensive, and the texture of bones and bones is hard and unavailable. People are constantly searching for suitable materials to meet the increasing demand for writing. Therefore, during the period of Zhou and Qin, there were written materials with various materials as the carrier, such as stone inscriptions, simple books, silk books and so on. Bronze inscriptions and Oracle bone inscriptions have greatly improved in terms of the material conditions for writing. China had used bronze ware about 4000 years ago. By the Shang Dynasty, a method of smelting bronze was discovered, and bronze ware began to be used in large quantities. From the late Yin and Shang Dynasties to the Warring States Period, it was the predominant period of bronze inscriptions in my country.

bronze inscriptions were produced in the early Shang Dynasty. Most of them are the owner's logo, clan emblem, ancestor name, etc. Generally, there are only two or three characters with a high level of pictogram, and some are even close to realistic paintings. This is probably due to the influence of early pictures. Its form still has similarities with the early Oracle.

At the end of the Shang Dynasty, the number of inscriptions on many artifacts was still not many, such as "Si Mu Wu Ding Ming" and "Si Mu Xin Ding Ming", but the writing style changed. The strokes of Si Mu Wu Ding Ming were pointed and straight, and there were many straight pens. Similar to the oracle bone inscriptions, but relatively large, and the font is larger, the structure also takes the vertical trend, looks strong and strong. From the perspective of text, they are not essentially different from Oracle.

At this time, long inscriptions also began to appear, and some reached four or five crosses. Such as "Ding Ming of the Heirs and Sons" and "Zai Fu Wei Ming" and so on. The form of the inscription also gradually changed. On the whole, the fonts are still very similar to the oracle bones, but the thickness of the strokes varies greatly, and sharp shapes can be seen everywhere; the structure is still more vertical, but attention has been paid to the shape of the font, which is strict and natural. Therefore, its temperament is thick and simple, strong and thick, which is quite different from the oracle bone. It can be seen that the effect of the new material conditions has been shown.

The Western Zhou Dynasty was the heyday of bronzes and the heyday of inscriptions. The inscriptions developed from a few crosses at the end of the Shang Dynasty to hundreds of characters. The content mainly includes six categories, including sacrificial ceremonies, conquests, rewards of tin fate, book appointments, exhortation of officials, and ancestors. ("Mao Gong Ding"), the requirements for the level of word processing will inevitably be raised accordingly, and of course, considerable progress may be made.

The style of the Western Zhou Dynasty bronze inscriptions can be roughly divided into three periods:

(1) Early Western Zhou Dynasty

includes King Wu, King Cheng, King Kang, King Zhao (1207 BC ~ 948 BC). The writing inherits the late Shang tradition, and is similar to the oracle bone inscriptions and bronze inscriptions at the end of the Shang Dynasty, and is at the same stage of writing. In terms of formal treatment, the strokes are thick and thick, but they are more pointed, similar to the inscriptions of the late Shang Dynasty, and often decorated with round or square block strokes. Representative works of this period include: "Zhou Gong Guiming", "Heaven's Death Guiming" (Wu Wang), "Li Guiming" (Wu Wang), "Defang Ding Ming" (Cheng Wang), "He Zun Ming" (Cheng Wang), " "Shang Zun Ming", "Yinxian Dading Ming" (Cheng Wang), "Da Yu Ding Ming" (Kang King), etc.

Among them, "The Great Ding Ding" is a Western Zhou heavy artifact, unearthed in Qishan Li Village, Shaanxi during the Daoguang Period of the Qing Dynasty, with 19 lines of inscriptions and 291 characters. In the twenty-three years of King Kang's decision to order his minister Yu. The shape of the tripod is dignified and powerful, with magnificent handwriting. The inscription is rigorous and dignified, the strokes are round and pointed, the body is long and straight, the knots are dense and condensed, and the composition is neat and orderly. In calligraphy, it is a magnificent square pen. Zhong Zhuowei's temple spirit already possesses the unique spiritual temperament of inscriptions. It has long been regarded as one of the masterpieces of inscriptions.

(2) Mid Western Zhou Dynasty

includes King Mu, King Gong, King Yi, King Xiao (947 BC ~ 888 BC). In this period, the length of the inscriptions was longer, and the processing methods were also more developed. There are a lot of fine works in this issue. Representatives include: "Jing Gui Ming" by King Mu, "Wei Yu Ming", "Yong Yu Ming", "Zhu Ding Ming", "Wall Plate Inscription" by King Gong, "Jigui inscription" by the King of Yi, "Da Ke Dingming" by the King of Xiao, etc.

 "Da Ke Ding", the inscription is twenty-eight lines, two hundred and nine crosses, the handwriting is extraordinarily large, and the body is slender and straight. Because the inscriptions are arranged in the boundary grid, the style of the calligraphy tends to be neat from the natural, and it is the emperor's masterpiece in the inscriptions.

Part of "Da Ke Ding"

"Wall Plate Inscriptions" are also structured, with subtle and subtle strokes, precise and rigorous structure, neat and sparse throughout, and the overall atmosphere is steady and solemn, fresh and clean, and can be called a masterpiece of Western Zhou inscriptions.

Part of "Wall Plate Inscriptions"

(3) Late Western Zhou Dynasty

     includes King Yi, King Li, King Xuan, King You (887 BC-771 BC). On the one hand, this period was the peak of the development of bronze inscriptions. On the other hand, it seemed to have shown signs of differentiation. For example, the "Mao Gong Ding Inscription" unearthed at the time of King Xuan in Qishan County, Shaanxi Province in the late Daoguang Period of the Qing Dynasty is exquisitely made and complete in shape. 

The text is in the belly, where there are thirty-two lines, and there are four hundred and ninety-seven characters. The calligraphy is exquisite and beautiful, the strokes are meticulous and heavy, the structure is dense and solemn, and the momentum is magnificent. It is a long-lived gold inscription and a high level of art.

's "Guo Ji Zi Bai Pan Inscription" by King Xuan is the largest bronze ware handed down in the late Western Zhou Dynasty. It is rectangular, 130.2 cm long, 82.7 cm wide, and 41.3 cm high. It was unearthed in the Guochuan Division of Baoji, Shaanxi during the Daoguang Period of the Qing Dynasty. The inscription one hundred and one cross. Records the incident that Guo Jizi Bai Feng Zhou ordered to conquer the powerful Northwest clan and was rewarded in Zhou Temple. 

The handwriting on this plate is not completely similar due to the large seal. The strokes are stretched longitudinally, and the turning points are round and vigorous. Pay attention to the parallel and equal division between the strokes. The body is slender, the upper is dense and the lower is stretched, and the chapters are loose and clear. sparse. The critics think that the truth is the origin of "Shiguwen", and from this it is a logical step for Xiaozhuan. In modern times, most seal attackers took the law.

Part of "Guo Jizi Baipan Inscription"

"Sanshi Pan" by King Li, also known as "Shiren Pan" and "Sanshi Li", was unearthed during the Qianlong period. There are nineteen lines of inscriptions on the pan belly, nineteen characters in full lines, and three hundred and five crosses. The record of the contract made when the Yaren transferred large tracts of land to the San clan, and the detailed records of the approval of the Takuma realm and the oath, is an important historical material for studying the land system of the Western Zhou Dynasty. 

The strokes of the typical Bronze inscriptions are changed from horizontal and vertical, even and stable, and replaced by slanting and slanting, with different thicknesses; the font is square and flat, and the right shoulder seems to hang slightly downward, which is similar to the rectangular shape of other works Or the close, upright and stable body posture is different, which can be described as a unique style in the inscriptions. Those who practice Zhuanzhu take it as a model. The reasons for the emergence of this style need to be further explored, but in connection with the social conditions in the late Western Zhou Dynasty, it is not difficult to find that this trend of differentiation should be an inevitable reflection of the rise of regional cultural power.

"Mao Gong Ding Inscription", "Guo Ji Zi Bai Pan Inscription", "San Shi Pan Inscription" and "Ding Ding Inscription", in the Qing Dynasty have the reputation of "Four National Treasures". In addition, representative works include: "Ding Ding Ming of Many Friends" when King Yi, "Song Ding Ming" when King Xuan, etc.

Generally speaking, the writing and casting of bronze inscriptions is not only to express the content of the text, but also reflects the aesthetic consciousness of people when writing and casting the text. For example, the roundness, square fold, thickness, rigidity, flexibility, and straightness of the strokes, the arrangement of structures, the arrangement of characters and lines, and the use of balance, symmetry, density and other formal laws, all clearly reflect the writers of the time. The ingenuity and artistry of Oracle are further improved and richer than Oracle.

In the works of the middle and late Western Zhou Dynasty, the strokes, structure and composition are well-rounded and familiar. They can make full use of the specialties of tools and casting methods to bring out their creativity, so that the form of the text has a unique condensing effect, which is solemn and elegant. Highly vigorous, it looks like entering a temple, like a sense of awe to the Supreme, but it also has a gentle, gentle, and intimacy like a spring breeze.

It is generally believed that this should be the unique breath of the so-called "big seal". This kind of breath is very precious, and it has a strong resonance with later calligraphers, and it has become a realm that later generations are diligently seeking. The works of inscriptions on the inscriptions of the middle and late Western Zhou dynasties are therefore considered to be the most prosperous works of the inscriptions of the Western Zhou dynasty, and are a model for studying the seal.

"Sanshi Disk" Full Picture

In addition, it should be noted that there were other recording media in the Shang and Western Zhou dynasties. "Shang Shu·To Shi Pian" said: "Only the ancestors of Yin, there are books and books." Archaeology has not yet discovered such a book. However, there are other written materials, such as "Shu Yu Ding" in the jade piece Zhushu, the word "Si" in the pottery piece ink book, and "Wu Hao Tomb Stone Chime" etc. Due to the limited archeological findings, we cannot yet conduct a systematic analysis of these works, but it should be pointed out that they preserve another aspect of Shang and Western Zhou writing.

👀 3. Spring and Autumn, Warring States Inscriptions

In 770 BC, Dog Rong fell into Hojing, killed King You, and died in Western Zhou Dynasty; Jin, Zheng and other princes escorted King Ping to move east, and their capital was in Luoyi (now Luoyang City, Henan), which was called "Eastern Zhou" in history, and the royal family of Zhou declined. Chinese history has entered the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-476 BC) when the princes contended for hegemony and the Warring States Period (475 BC-221 BC) when the nations were separatist and annexed.

With this historical change, the application of text has also formed some new features. Rong Geng said: "The characteristic of inscriptions is the patterning of characters, and the decoration replaces the nature of the book history" and "the general common trend is simplification." However, his generalization is not comprehensive.

From the perspective of artistic style, the most prominent change in this period is the gradual enhancement of regional style. Among them, it is particularly noteworthy that one is the evolution towards Xiaozhuan; the other is the tendency of text decoration in some vassals. At the same time, under the circumstance of frequent wars, the application range of characters has been greatly expanded. In order to meet their needs, an obvious trend of simplification of characters has emerged, which in turn has led to changes in officials. 

These two major changes constitute the basic development clues for calligraphy in the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period. In addition, in the early Spring and Autumn Period, the typical Western Zhou Dynasty seal style continued, which constituted the third clue for the development of calligraphy in the Spring and Autumn Period. We can simply call them: the extension of the Western Zhou Dynasty Great Seal style, the regionalization (the most prominent of which are the small seal and decoration), and the official change. T

he continuation of the typical Western Zhou Dynasty seal style mainly exists in the bronze inscriptions, and the official change mainly occurs in the bamboo slips. Only the regionalization is coexisted in the bronze inscriptions and the bamboo slips.

(1) The continuation of the typical Western Zhou Dynasty seal style

The extension of the Western Zhou Dynasty seal style mainly existed in the Spring and Autumn Period. Social changes did not immediately change the writing habits. Therefore, in many vassal states, there were works similar to the typical Western Zhou Dynasty seal style. 

Such as "Qiao Junzheng Ming" by Xu Guo, "Chen Houhu" and "Chen Houhu" by Chen Guo, "Shang Pang Gong and Renyan" by Pang Guo, "Huang Jungui" by Huang Guo, and "Huang Jungui" by Deng Guo "Bo's Ding", "Xue Hou Pan" by Xue Guo, "Chu Gonghu" and "Chu Shuhu" by Zhu Guo, "Ji Boying" by Ji Guo, "邿 Qian簠" by Guo Guo, Lu Guo "Lu Boyu Fu Ding", etc., are very similar to the "Zhong Yi Fu Ding", "Xi Bo Yu Fu Ding", "Bo Yu Fu Ding" and "Boji Father Ding" of the late Western Zhou Dynasty. . They can be said to be a natural extension of the seal style of the late Western Zhou Dynasty. From the perspective of appreciation or learning, they are an effective supplement to the style of the late Western Zhou Dynasty.

(2) Regional development of inscriptions
The continuation of the style of the late Western Zhou Dynasty did not last long. As the separatism of the princes became stronger and stronger, regional characteristics became more and more dominant. From the late Spring and Autumn Period to the Warring States Period, the regional differences in bronze inscriptions became more and more prominent. Wang Guowei divided it into two major systems: the Western Soil and the Eastern Soil. The Western Soil System is the Qin script, and the Eastern Soil System is the ancient script of the Six Kingdoms. Chen Mengjia is organized into five systems:

     East Earth System: Qi, Lu, Lu, Ju, Qi, Zhu, Xue, Teng;
     Western Earth System: Qin, Jin, Yu, Guo;
     Southern Soil System: Wu, Yue, Xu, Chu;
     Northern Soil System: Yan, Wei;
     Middle Earth System: Song, Wei, Chen, Cai, Zheng.

We can integrate these two theories into three systems, namely: the Eastern Soil System, the Western Soil System and the Southern Soil System.

From a comprehensive point of view, the inscriptions at this stage are indeed very complicated, but we can still find a development clue that has historical commonality-this is standardization. Among the three systems, the western soil and the southern soil are mainly based on this road; while the eastern soil and the southern soil have also appeared on this road. Although the fonts of the three lines are quite different, the works on this road show a certain degree of commonality in form, which is the uniformity of strokes and the rationalization of structure. 

This is stipulated by the application characteristics of text, and it is also the result of people's continuous exploration of forms. The standardization of text is an inevitable requirement of text in application, and it is also a way to beautify text. It may be said that if it was not Qin who unified China, but one of the other six countries unified China, a seal script typeface similar in form to a small seal would inevitably appear as a standardized writing style.

At the same time, it needs to be explained that the applicability of words brought another change during this period, which is the vulgarization of words. Mr. Qiu Xigui said: "At the turn of the Spring and Autumn and Warring States period, the old aristocratic class was gradually replaced by the new exploiting class, and the writing began to spread to the people. After entering the Warring States period, with the huge changes and rapid development in economic, political, and cultural aspects, writing The application of the word is more and more widespread, and more and more people use the words, so the shape of the words has undergone unprecedented drastic changes. 

This is mainly manifested in the rapid development of the vulgar words. "This situation will inevitably affect the bronze inscriptions. In addition to the examples cited above, we have also discovered such works influenced by vulgar characters, such as the "Ping An Emperor Ding" unearthed in Guanzhuang, Biyang, Henan Province, and the Qin State's "Daliang Making Upsetting" and "Gao Slave". Right" and other inscriptions.

👀 4. Qin State "Stone Guwen" and "Curse Chu Wen"

carved on the stone, appeared very early in our country, the Shang and Western Zhou Dynasty have been preserved to this day, but the quantity is small, the shape is simple, and it is not typical. The real stone inscriptions appeared in the Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period. With the development of iron smelting technology and the use of iron tools, stone carving becomes possible. The stone inscription that has the artistic value of calligraphy and is amazing for later generations is "Stone Drum Wen".

 "Stone Drum Inscription", discovered in the Sanya Plain, Fengxiang, Shaanxi in the early Tang Dynasty, is now in the Palace Museum. There are ten stones in total, each of which is about one meter high. It is shaped like a drum, so it is usually called "Stone Drum" and the engraved text is "Stone Drum Wen". The text is a four-character poem, describing the hunting affairs of the king of Qin. The era of its engraving is still inconclusive, about from the late Spring and Autumn Period to the early Warring States Period. 

"Shiguwen" is an important material in the evolution of the big seal to the small seal. The characters are still typical of the big seal, but the strokes tend to be even, the body tends to be square, and it has a small seal style. Because it is a rough stone, it has always been treasured. From the Tang Dynasty to the present, it has been regarded as a national treasure and praised by many. Teachers may emphasize the atmosphere of the big seal and seek its ancient times, or take the meaning of the small seal to participate in it, so that it is uniform and stable, and both sides are happy.

"Curse Chu Wen", after the middle of the Warring States period, Qin stone inscriptions, the content is that the king of Qin worshipped the gods to restrain the Chu soldiers and restore their borders. The original stone was lost early in the Song Dynasty, and it was discovered in the Song Dynasty:

 (1) The "Wu Xianwen" unearthed at Kaiyuan Temple in Fengxiang during the Jiayou period, which belonged to the imperial palace in Song Huizong, has a total of 326 characters. 

(2) The "Da Shen Jiuqiu Wen" found in Zhiping, with a total of 318 characters. 

(3) Cai Ting's income, the "Yatuo Wen" of Liu Chen's family in Luoyang, was later collected, with a total of 325 characters. The original stone was lost in the Song Dynasty, and all the rubbings are copied. Existing copies of the first two inscribed on "Jiang Tie" and "Ru Tie" have lost their original form, but the skeleton is still there, and we can see the origin of the small seal.

Curse Chuwen

👀 5. Spring and Autumn, 
Warring States Bamboo Slips and Silk Ink

As mentioned earlier, there should have been a short book in the Yin and Shang era, but due to the material, the handwriting written on these materials has not been found so far, and there are very few ink materials in the Shang and Western Zhou Dynasties. However, after the Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period, the ink retention gradually increased, mainly written on three types of carriers: jade or stone, silk fabric, and bamboo and wood slips.

(1) "Hou Ma League Book" and "Wen County League Book"
The letter of alliance is the record of the vows buried in the ground or sinking in the river water when the alliances between the princes and the officials were established. Two copies have been discovered: "The Book of Houma League" unearthed at the Jin Kingdom site in Houma, Shanxi in 1965, and the "Book of Wenxian League" unearthed in Wen County, Henan in 1979.

"Houma League Book"

(2) "Chu Silk Book"

Written words on silk fabrics "silk" and "缯", Wang Guowei believes: "At the latest, it should be in the Zhou quarter." But so far, only those unearthed from the tomb of the Warring States Period in the Changshatan Library, Hunan Province, are now in the New York Metropolis. The "Chu Silk Book" of the museum is also known as "Chu Bamboo Book" or "Chu Silk Book". The period is "approximately equivalent to the turn of the middle and late Warring States period."  

Chu silk script has typical Chu local characteristics, with little change in the use of the strokes of the beginning and ending strokes, and the strokes are curved and inclined, which is full of movement; the fonts are mostly flat and sideways, and have a natural and random effect.

Part of "Book of Chu Silk"

(3) Jianshu
bamboo slips were the main writing carrier before the Jin Dynasty. It has been unearthed since the Han Dynasty and has been heard from time to time, but none of it has remained today. Since the end of the 19th century, a large number of bamboo slips have been unearthed in Northwest my country. There are mainly two types of bamboo slips found in the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period: Chu and Qin slips. 

The bamboo slips of Chu bamboo slips mainly include: bamboo slips from the tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng (excavated in Suixian, Hubei in 1978), Chu slips in Changsha (1951, 1953, 1954), Xinyang Chu slips (unearthed in 1957), Jiangling Chu slips (1965, 1973) , Unearthed in Jiangling in 1978), Baoshan Chujian (unearthed in Baoshan, Jingmen, Hubei in 1987), etc.

These Chu bamboo slips are close to Chu silk scripts. They do not pursue the goal of standardization and neatness, but first of all meet the requirements of convenience when writing and making, so the pen is simple and slanting. Chu Jian's applicability is more prominent, so these characteristics are stronger. For example, the structure of Jiangling Wangshan Bamboo Slips has been adjusted greatly, opening and closing; the structure of "Xinyang Chu Slips" is staggered, and the shape is like a nail head, which is free and comfortable; "Changsha Yangtian Lake Chu Slips" use pen Xiongfang; "Baoshan Chujian" is either calm or smart. On the whole, it is both unified and greatly changed, showing lively vitality.

Part of "Xinyang Chu Bamboo Slips"

Qin bamboo slips currently found are mainly Qingchuan wooden slips. In 1980, tomb No. 50 of the Warring States Tombs in Haojiaping, Qingchuan County, Sichuan was unearthed. There are two in total, dating around the first year of King Qin Zhao (306 BC).

"Qingchuan Wooden Slip" only has one front handwriting clearly, the rest are too damaged and unreadable. The content includes six things such as modification of land regulations, laws and regulations, modification of territories, cultivating roads, building dikes and bridges, and dredging rivers. Philologists believe that the font belongs to the ancient scriptures. The round and curved strokes of the seal script have gradually been broken down into straight strokes, the body is flat and tends to the flat position of the official script, and there are signs of budding. It can be seen that in the late Warring States period, official script fonts have gradually taken shape.

Part of "Qingchuan Wooden Tablet"

Chinese history is so mysterious, but the history of Chinese calligraphy is more like a key that opens the door of mystery.

Teacher Lin Lan talked about this in the first episode of today. I hope that friends from all over the world can enjoy, understand China, understand Chinese history, understand the history of Chinese calligraphy, and understand Lin Lan’s calligraphy and calligraphy education for Chinese calligraphy and Chinese calligraphy and painting.

Learn Chinese calligraphy, learn Chinese painting, Lin Lan's calligraphy and painting education will always be your best friend!

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